Sat, Mar 02, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Premier Yu to move into house of former armed forces head

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

After months of house-hunting, Premier Yu Shyi-kun finally picked the former residence of late chief of the general staff Peng Meng-chi (彭孟緝), who was notorious for his controversial role in the 228 Incident, as his official residence and will move into the house by next month.

Yu and his wife, who have been renting an apartment on Hsinyi Road since Yu was appointed secretary-general to the president last October, must vacate their old residence in two months so his successor, Chen Shih-meng (陳師孟), can move in.

Guiding reporters and photographers through Peng's former residence yesterday afternoon, Cabinet spokesperson Chuang Suo-hang (莊碩漢) said that the Cabinet plans to spend over NT$1.5 million to fix the roughly 1,000-ping complex located at the intersection of Chinhua Street and Lishui Street in downtown Taipei.

"The reason why the premier favored this place is because there isn't any rent involved and the decoration and restoration fees are low," Chuang said.

There are four buildings and a swimming pool in the complex. Yu will stay on the second floor of the building, which is in the best condition and requires the least amount of restoration work.

Preliminary costs estimated for the building are NT$670,000. To save money, the premier will bring in his own furniture and the swimming pool will be neither fixed nor used in the future.

Thirty-seven members of Yu's entourage and security guards will stay in two of the buildings, while six more will stay on the first floor of the same building where Yu and his wife will live.

Preliminary restoration fees for the two buildings are estimated at NT$840,000.

The fourth building, which is next to the pool, will be left as is. The restoration expenses of this building are estimated to be in the millions of dollars.

The Cabinet has managed to lease the complex free of charge from the Taiwan Provincial Government and National Property Bureau under the Ministry of Finance, which have been the legal owners of both the land and buildings since 1994.

The house has been used as a temporary residence for Taiwan Provincial Government officials since Peng's death in December 1997.

Peng, who served as the commander of the Kaohsiung Fortress (高雄要塞司令) during the 228 Incident, led the bloody crackdown on the uprising against the KMT in the city.

Yu had originally considered three other possible locations. They failed to win Yu's endorsement, however, because of high rents, limited space or the high costs of restoring the properties.

The house had been recommended to Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) when she was searching for her official residence last year.

Yu, who served as secretary-general to the president at the time and was in charge of Lu's housing budget, opposed the proposal because of the high restoration and decoration fees -- estimated at NT$100 million.

Housing has long been a problem for high-ranking government officials, including the vice president and the premier. Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) had proposed during his time as premier the selection of a permanent official residence for the premier.

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